George Tawengwa was a distinguished businessman and politician in Zimbabwe. He was the owner of the famous Mushandirapamwe Hotel brand and he rose to fame when he became the first black millionaire (in US dollars) in the country. He had a wide array of commercial investments in transport, properties, retail, agriculture and hospitality industries.

George Tawengwa
George Tawengwa, Businessman, Mushandirapamwe Hotel
Mushandiraamwe Hotel established by George Tawengwa in 1972
Born March 6, 1915
Goromonzi
Died April 13, 1982 (aged 67)
Residence Zimbabwe
Nationality Zimbabwean
Occupation
  • Businessman
Years active 1950s to 1982
Notable work Being the first black Millionaire in Zimbabwe
Spouse(s) Mabel Tawengwa
Children

Contents

Background

Born George Chirume, Tawengwa was born on the 6th of March in 1915 in Mwanza village in Goromonzi in Mashonaland East Province.[1] He spent his early life in Goromonzi before moving to Hwedza where he worked for a white couple at a very young age. He was married to Mabel Tawengwa. His Children who took over after his death include former mayor of Harare Solomon Tawengwa, former Highfield senator Charles Tawengwa, Tendai Tawengwa and Aggrey Tawengwa.[2]

Business career

Properties and Hospitality

Tawengwa was the owner of Mushandipamwe Hotel located in Highfield at Machipisa Shopping Centre, one of the busiest spots in the Sunshine City. The hotel which was built in 1972 was famous for harbouring nationalist leaders during the Second Chimurenga war between 1966 and 1980. The hotel was used by people like Robert Mugabe, Enos Nkala, Edgar Tekere and Solomon Mujuru to plan the liberation struggle after public political meetings were banned. After the Chimurenga war the hotel housed returning Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) troops and nationalist leaders who prepared for the historic election that ushered in independence.[3]

Agriculture

In 1960, Tawengwa was the first black person to purchase a 1,872.0-hectare commercial farm (Zimdale Farm in Marondera) from a white farmer, in the then colonial system by a racist white minority of Southern Rhodesia.[1]

Transport

One of the Mushandirapamwe Buses owned by Tawengwa
Tawengwa established Mushandirapamwe Bus Services Company which had a fleet of about 150 buses. The buses plied both urban and rural routes.[4]

Retail

Tawengwa established a number if retail outlets throughout the country. However his retail empire thrived the most in Harare at Machipisa Shopping Centre where he enjoyed a monopoly for a number of years before the establishment of other retail outlets. The Mushandirapamwe retail outlets in Zimbabwe are still found today in areas such as Mbare Musika, Epworth, Marondera and Hwedza.

To mark a historic milestone Tawengwa and his wife Mabel Tawengwa were featured in a 1977 edition of The Rhodesia Herald newspaper (currently The Herald Zimbabwe), when they purchased five farms for cash. Farms are Shaka Hills, Sheba amongst others in the Hwedza district.[1]

Death

He died on on 13 pril in 1982.[1]

Politics

Tawengwa was aligned to the ZANU party especially during the freedom war which began in the 1960s and ended in 1980. He is believed to have been a close friend of president Robert Mugabe. For this reason, he provided a haven to many nationalists at his Mushandirapamwe Hotel which became the cradle of nationalism in the then Rhodesia. To this day, Mushandirapamwe hotel in Zimbabwe is celebrated as a historic monument in which the revolution was brewed sustained.

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 , George Tayengwa,Babylon, retrieved:31 Mar 2015"
  2. , Zanu war base turned into brothel,NewZimbabwe, published:11 Dec 2009,retrieved:1 Apr 2015"
  3. , Mushandirapamwe Hotel: The walls of the struggle,ZBC News, published:11 Apr 2011,retrieved:31 Mar 2015"
  4. , George Tawengwa,Redif Pages, retrieved:1 Apri 2015"